British Columbia signs on to Canada Job Grant

Natural gas and resource sector need skilled workers, says B.C. minister of jobs, tourism and skills

OTTAWA – British Columbia is the latest province to sign a framework agreement with the federal government on the Canada Job Grant.

Shirley Bond, the province’s minister of jobs, tourism and skills, says the deal will help connect British Columbians with the skills they need to be first in line for the job openings looming in B.C. over the coming decade.

Bond says the liquefied natural gas industry and the broad resource sector need skilled workers.

Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney calls the announcement good news for British Columbians, whom he said will now have better access to the training that leads to jobs.

Ontario became the first province last week to sign a framework deal with Ottawa over its once-contentious national job training program.

The province is now working with the federal government to iron out details of how the grant will work in Ontario.

The provinces and territories initially refused to agree to the original proposal, the centrepiece of the 2013 federal budget.

The plan called for providing $15,000 for each eligible worker, with the cost divided equally among Ottawa, the provinces and employers.

The provinces and territories balked, saying Ottawa would claw back federal dollars for successful job-training programs run by the provinces, while forcing them to find millions more to cover their portion of the grant.

But they dropped their opposition last month after Ottawa agreed to a number of changes, including covering the provincial portion of the grant.